New Jersey Criminal Lawyer – Appellate Opinions – State v. Jefferson

State v. Jefferson, 413 N.J. Super. 344 (App. Div. 2010)

The State has not cited any case recognizing an exception from the warrant requirement when the police wish to enter a home to effect a Terry-type investigative detention of a suspect. The State’s argument that the police have such authority is inconsistent with the constitutional requirement that police have a warrant, or establish an exception to the warrant requirement, when they enter a home to make a formal arrest. If the police need a warrant or a recognized exception to enter a home to make an arrest, clearly they may not enter a home to effect a warrantless Terry-type detention, which our Supreme Court has determined to be constitutional because it is “minimally intrusive.”

In this case, the police had no warrant and made no showing of an exception from the warrant requirement when Sergeant Smith partially entered defendant’s residence to stop him from closing his front door. That conduct of the police infringed upon the “firm line at the entrance to the house” when applying the protections of the Fourth Amendment.

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